Millwall players 'desperate' for starting spot in Championship clash with Reading

MILLWALL are in a “great position” ahead of Saturday’s trip to Reading – with players “desperate” to claim first-team places.

With Shaun Hutchinson recovered from injury, Neil Harris should have all 22 senior players available for selection at the Madejski Stadium.

Tom Elliott and Shane Ferguson, on the fringes of the starting XI for more than a season, have staked their claims for starts against Paul Clement’s side with their performances against Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa before the international break.

Elliott is keeping club captain Steve Morison out of the side, while Republic of Ireland international Aiden O’Brien may have to be content with a place on the bench at the weekend.

Murray Wallace will hope to retain his place despite the return to fitness of the Lions’ vice-captain.

“Hutch is fine. If he trains fine [Tuesday] and then Thursday and Friday he’ll be fit for squad selection for the weekend,” Harris said.

“It’s a great position for me to be in as a manager. I’ve got my vice-captain back in my squad, he’s put in some outstanding performances the last couple of years. He’s not 100 per cent fit but he’s nearly there.

“For probably the first time since August I’ve got a team that’s played extremely well on the whole for two games and players – not just my vice-captain, but captain as well, and Tom Bradshaw after his goals the other day – desperate to get back in the side.”

Bradshaw scored twice for Millwall’s under-23s in their Professional Development league game against Watford at The Den last Friday.

Harris, who watched the 2-0 win, said: “I played him in the game because I thought it was important to play him at The Den. He got some minutes in familiar surroundings.

“For a striker it’s important that you nudge your manager that you’re ready and waiting and that you’re a goal scorer. It’s good for him to remind and show the boys what a good player he is.

“It’s good for his mentality that he scored goals. And it wasn’t just his goals, his performance was outstanding.

“The two goals were great finishes, one penalty that was clinical into the top corner, and one that was a good team goal and a very good strike from the edge of the box.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly